Duttee Holmes

Two from City Enlist in Navy
A group of young men destined for enlistment in the United States Navy left Chippewa Falls for Milwaukee Monday. The group included three youths from the Eau Claire area, David E. Hennig of Fall Creek; Duttee Holmes, Jr., 830 Main Street, Eau Claire; and John K. Hall, 414 1/2 Water Street, Eau Claire. After passing the physical examination in Milwaukee, these young men will become part of the ever-expanding United States Navy.

The Chippewa Falls Recruiting Office said there is still a great need for young men 17 years of age who qualify for enlistment in the Navy, as well as for young women between the ages of 20 and 36 for the Women's Reserve (WAVEs) of the United States Navy.

A Navy recruiter is in Eau Claire at the Post Office Building every Thursday and Saturday, and information about enlistment in the Navy may be obtained on those days. The Chippewa Falls office is open every day of the week except Sunday and is also located in the Post Office Building.

AT GREAT LAKES - Three Eau Claire men are receiving their initial indoctrination at the United States Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, IL. They are Ivan E. Edelmon, 18; Duttee Holmes, 17; and John B. Sanford, 17.

Duttee Holmes, Jr., Seaman Second Class, son of Mr. and Mrs. Duttee Holmes, 830 Main Street, has returned to Great Lakes, IL, after spending a week with relatives and friends here.

Duttee Holmes, Jr., Seaman Second Class, son of Mr. and Mrs. Duttee Holmes, 830 Main Street, is serving in the Pacific area.

He entered the service in October 1944 and received his boot training at Great Lakes, IL and further training at Norfolk, VA and New Orleans, LA.

At present, he is assigned to an LST.

Taken from Leader Telegram, Section 1F Sunday March 30, 2003

For Amery family war all relative
Jared Holmes Jeremy Holmes
Jordan Holmes Joshua Holmes
Duttee and Corky Holmes of Eau Claire take great pride in the military service of their grandchildren, although they admit it's stressful knowing two of them are participating in the war against Iraq.

Family/Eau Claire grandparents record news about B-52s

by Eric Lindquist, Leader-Telegram staff

It's like something out of the movies. 

Two brothers go off to war, both flying in fabled B-52 bombers. Their missions could prove crucial to U.S. success in the war.

Following in their footsteps, the little brother joins the Air National Guard and sees his unit get activated. He could join his siblings in the war zone at any time.

Adding to the drama, the oldest brother is engaged to an electronic warfare officer who flies in the same B-52 fleet, the war is likely to cause the second-oldest brother to miss the birth of his first child, and the lone girl in the family longs to show she has the right stuff by beginning U.S. Air Force pilot training this summer. 

While such a script may sound too implausible for Hollywood, it's playing out in a town near you, as the United States launches Operation Iraqi Freedom. The four children of Mike and Debbi Holmes of Amery comprise the cast.

Their oldest son, Jeremy, 25, plays the part of the gung-ho pilot. His mother insists Jeremy, now a First Lieutenant and pilot, has wanted to fly planes "from the time he was old enough to walk, talk and breathe." 

The second son, Joshua, 24, now a Second Lieutenant and navigator, takes responsibility for the dramatic twist. "Josh actually got a degree (from UW-Eau Claire) in criminal justice and showed no interest in the military," recalls his father. "Then the next thing I knew, he was down talking to an Air Force recruiter." 

The youngest son, Jared, 20, carries a supporting role. Although part of his unit has been deployed in the Middle East, the Airman First Class so far has been assigned security duty at an Air Force base in the Twin Cities. He put off his plans to attend UW-Eau Claire when his unit was activated. 

Mike and Debbi's daughter,  Jordan, 22, remains an understudy. She is an ROTC cadet at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, scheduled to graduate May 17—the same date she will receive her commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force. 

The proud mother of this band of brothers and their sister said the military inclination of her children came in part from admiration for their father and grandfather. Mike was an Air Force pilot for four years in the Vietnam War and his father, Duttee, was a Quartermaster for two years in the Navy during World War II, participating in the invasion of Okinawa. 

It's not difficult to discern the origin of the younger generation's attitudes. 

"I've always felt that we don't get anything for nothing," says Mike, who retired two months ago after 28 years in law enforcement, the last 26 as Amery's police chief. "I think we all owe the country something. Our freedom isn't free." 

Mike backed up his words during the Vietnam era when he wasn't drafted but signed up to fight anyway. "I thought it was the right thing to do," he says.  

In another dramatic twist, it's possible, Mike says, that Jeremy and Joshua are flying on some of the same B-52s he serviced as an in-flight refueler 30 years ago, before any of his children were born. The enormous, eight-engine planes have a wingspan of 185 feet and are expected to remain in service for another four decades. 

As for the stress of having two sons, a future daughter-in-law and possibly soon a third son all participating in the war against Iraq, Mike insists he and his wife are concerned, but holding up well, perhaps aided by his experience in war and in dangerous situations as a police officer.

"I've been there," Mike says. "I know what can happen because I know some people who didn't make it back from Vietnam, but I also know my children and what they're capable of doing. 

"And I know what kind of training they've had, so we're not sitting nervously waiting for the telephone to ring or somebody to drive up bearing bad news." 

Yet Debbi, a French and Spanish teacher at Amery High School, the alma mater of all four children, concedes she wouldn't mind if her youngest son sits this war out.

"Maybe it's just a mother's perspective," she says. "I know he's ready to go, but I kind of don't want him to."

Military policy makes no exceptions for multiple family members serving in harm's way at the same time, unless one of them is killed, captured or completely disabled, such as happened with three brothers in "Saving Private Ryan."

In that event, surviving immediate family members could request reassignment from an imminent danger area, says Vaughn Blackstone, an assignment adviser for the Air Force Personnel Center in San Antonio, Texas. 

Jared's older brothers usually call at least once a week between what the family assumes are regular bombing raids over Iraq.

"They don't say much, and I know what they do is highly classified, but you can tell they're proud of the job they're doing," Mike says.

As are their Eau Claire grandparents, Duttee and Corky.

"I admire their bravery. I can't even imagine a family being so patriotic," Corky says, recalling that her grandchildren used to love watching the piloting prowess on display at air shows in Eau Claire.

In contrast to her own uneasiness about the war, Corky smiles as she recalls her grandsons exuding confidence when she asked if they were scared before their most recent deployment.

Their reply: "That's what we've been trained for, Grandma. We're ready to go."

Still, Corky and Duttee acknowledge being unnerved by all of the televised reports from the front lines. Since the war began March 19, they have been transfixed by their TVs, often keeping 24-hour news channels on in both the living and dining rooms.

"We've been taping whenever we hear of anything involving the B-52s," says Duttee who like his son flies a large American flag outside his house." 

However, just because so many Holmeses are among the quarter-million U.S. troops starring in the world's greatest experiment in live reality TV doesn't mean they don't appreciate a good storyline.

In fact, the family flyboys spent countless hours watching a Top Gun video while growing up.

"I think Jeremy and Josh for sure—and probably my daughter and youngest son too—could probably recite most  of the lines from the movie by heart," Mike says.

Of course, if the family's story were made into a movie, Josh, Jeremy, Jeremy's fiancee, Telisha McGuire, and ultimately Jared would all end up on the same plane. In reality, Air Force policy prohibits  family members from flying together to limit the chance of one family being hit disproportionately by a tragic last act.

A happy ending would be for a quick conclusion to the war, so Jeremy and Telisha could get married this year as they'd hoped and Joshua could join his wife, Alice, for the birth of their child, due in May. Alice (formerly Gates) is waiting for her former high school sweetheart to return to the Air Force base in Minot, ND, where Joshua and Jeremy are stationed.

But the Holmes family, firmly entrenched in the reality of a nation at war, realizes that would constitute an unlikely surprise ending, so they plan accordingly.

"I'm sure Josh would like to be back for the birth, but I don't know if provisions can be made for that, as long as the war is going on," Mike says. "If not, I know he'll feel bad, but everybody knows the importance of what he's doing."